Today, for the third morning in a row, I woke up to an empty bed. My husband was one room over, quietly sleeping in the guest room. We had not had an argument; the empty space next to me, cheerfully lit by morning sunlight, did not signify any sort of marital discord. He simply can’t sleep with me anymore, because I snore.
This has been going on for about six months, on and off. Pregnancy messes with one’s nasal passages, and along with the thicker hair and sciatica, snoring has been one of the gifts bestowed upon me by the small being kicking around in my abdomen. At first we combatted the problem with earplugs for my beloved, and when that stopped being sufficient, he would gently shake me until I turned over, like one of those terrifying Japanese teddy bears. This worked until Thanksgiving, when I caught a cold, exacerbating the snoring situation, and he woke me up about twenty times in a single night. I completely flipped out because I was sick and exhausted and felt as if I were being tortured. “But it made you stop snoring!” he protested. “Because I was awake!” I roared.
From there, we progressed to double earplugs for him (regular ones, plus wax ones on top to seal them in), to the neti pot for me, and from there to BreatheRight strips. Each solution worked for a few days, or even a few weeks, but inevitably I’d wake up to the dreaded empty bed. I briefly tried making fun of my husband, referring to him as a “delicate petunia,” but that only made me feel a little bit better. The fact is, he is entitled to a good night’s sleep, and so am I, so if he needs to move to a different room to get it, what’s the big deal?
Well, the big deal is, we’re married, and I want him next to me at night. While I know there are plenty of couples who don’t share a bed, for reasons of comfort or to make room for co-sleeping children, I . . . don’t want to be one of those couples. I want the intimacy inherent in sharing my most vulnerable and peaceful hours with the man I love. I want the security of having him right there next to me. Even if no one sees, I don’t want the appearance of distance between us. I want him. I just do.
I also feel as if I’m being punished for something I cannot control. When I wake up and he’s not there, I feel rejected. I’m beginning to get resentful. My sister, after all, snores like a herd of buffalo and her husband doesn’t seem to mind. Plus, the BreatheRight strips give me a smooshed-looking little troll nose, and I hate that. I want to glow with the beauty and femininity of pregnancy, and this just makes me want to go and hide under a bridge.
I’m more or less at my wit’s end now. I asked my doctor about it, and she said ti’s probably due to weight gain, which obviously won’t go away until the baby is born, suggested the things we were already doing, and then hesitantly mentioned Benadryl, but said it might actually make me more sleepy, which could in fact make the snoring worse.
Our next strategy is white noise. We may need it to help the baby sleep, anyway, so it will be good to get used to it. I’m also going to pop over to Walgreen’s today and try to track down the “extra-strength” BreatheRight strips.
I think the reason this has been so upsetting to me is the hopelessness of it. In this one small aspect of our marriage, my husband and I cannot give each other what we need. I cannot give him the silence he needs, and he cannot give me the intimacy I crave. We are both trying, very hard, but it isn’t working. I know that marriage is hard work, and I know that we’re not going to get divorced over a little temporary snoring problem, but stumbling upon a little taste of irreconcilable differences has me shaken.
In the end, it’s two more months, and then hopefully I will get my old nasal passages back, and then we’ll have a baby who won’t let either of us sleep, so the point will be moot, anyway. Mountains and molehills; there are differences. For the time being, I’m just going to have to learn to compromise, keep a stiff upper lip, and try not to lose too much sleep over it.